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Jun 4, 2008 11:30 AM

London - where should I live for eating purposes?


My wife and I will be moving to London from a small town in northern Utah - a complete food wasteland. My job will be near King's Cross and I'm trying to figure out where to live. I think we will have to keep the rent below 1400/month, so really high end neighborhoods are out.

The reason I'm posting here is because my number one concern is food and drink - access to good markets, real ale, ethnic diversity, low prices - but still a few nicer places, cheese, meats, etc. Access to entertainment, museums, clubs, theater, etc. is much less important.

Basically, if chowhounders were choosing where to live in London, with a fairly limited amount of disposable cash, what neighborhood would you choose?


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  1. East London. I'm moving to Green St more or less for its market and to get FAR away from Central London. That might be a bit far east for you, but the tube works OK enough (minus the fact that you can expect at least one MASSIVE signal failure a week and that the lack of air conditioning makes it hotter than a sauna during summer rush hours.)

    Others can offer closer and more realistic choices, but I would personally go east.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JFores

      Thank you for the feedback - is this Green St in E13? Is the market there called Green St. Market?

      1. re: juniorworm

        Yeah it is. Shepherds Bush and Stoke Newington are also very nice for this purpose. Good markets, restaurants, very diverse, etc. Green St's tube line is also not the fastest thing on Earth but you can get just about anywhere central in well under an hour. It used to take me only 30-40 mins to get all the way to Marble Arch from there.

        1. re: JFores

          I work in Shepherd's Bush and I wouldn't want to live there - it's a bit of a dump. Stoke Newington is much nicer, but it's not on the tube which is a problem for me.

    2. I assume you mean £1400. I'll let others discuss London proper, but for that amount you could get a very nice flat south of London but near good transportation to King's Cross. I'm thinking of a semi-suburb like Sutton which has a direct rail link to King's Cross. It wouldn't be as drastic a switch as Utah to London, but maybe you want the big city experience. You'll like the supermarkets here... full of interesting products and ethnic varieties.

      2 Replies
      1. re: zuriga1

        Yes, sorry I did mean £1400, not USD. I am hoping to have something resembling an urban experience, as I've been living in a succession of small college towns for the last 20 years.

        1. re: juniorworm

          Being an American, I know just what you mean. Go for it!!

      2. What are you hoping to get for your £1400? I haven't been in the rental market for a long time, but you should be able to live pretty centrally for that, depending on your needs. For example, my friend rents out a one-bedroom flat in Herne Hill for less than a grand a month. That's 15 minutes on the overground train to King's Cross, and you're near Brixton Market and a wealth of independent shops in both Brixton and Herne Hill. You might also want to consider Islington (although I've got no idea what the rents are like round there at the moment). Loads of restaurants there, a farmer's market on a Saturday, and very close to King's Cross.

        1 Reply
        1. In defense of Surrey (my adopted home), it's a huge area. Sutton is Surrey but 30 minutes away by car and right on the Capital One line to Kings X. The trains are good - we get to choose direct service from here to either Victoria or Waterloo. I'm not a great fan of long commutes for work - easier the better.

          To keep on topic, I agree that most people would find shopping and eating out much more convenient in London than further out. Age is a factor, too, at times. I've done the eat out all the time routine years ago and it's usually easier (and better) to eat home more nowadays. Different strokes for different folks etc. I'd love to talk to all you guys in about 30 years. :-)

        2. I've been living a couple of tube stops south from Kings Cross for the last eight years or so and haven't looked back (I used to live on the Putney/Barnes borders which was ok but the commute was hell). Most places I need to go to are only a short walk, bus or tube ride away.

          Kings X used to be a bit of a sketchy area but is being redeveloped at a pace especially since the opening of the Eurostar Terminal at St Pancras. You could walk to work and transport anywhere else would be a cinch. Food wise it's not perfect but picking up. In any case the transport links help.

          There's a lot of new development around Borough (near London Bridge) which is SE1 postcode and is five stops from Kings X on the Northern Line. And of course you have Borough Market nearby although it is fast becoming a bit too much of a tourist trap these days.

          West London especially places like Shepherds Bush and Notting Hill are popular although using the Circle Line might age you prematurely.

          In Stoke Newington you'll get plenty of diversity and mostly Kurdish/Turkish food.

          You may find this site useful which shows all sorts of stats for various areas:

          There's also a new edition of the TO Guide for Londoners which has good descriptions of the various areas:

          Finally and most importantly don't live anywhere with a post code that begins with SW.

          1 Reply
          1. stoke newington is n16. it's not got great transport but can easily take a bus to finsbury park and take the piccadilly down to kigns cross. lots of turkish food and other restaraunts around and easy to get down to kingsland road for vietnamese. islington which is n1 is full of americas it's got a great farmers market on sunday, but you'll get a smaller flat and the food is more expensive (one plus is there are two burrito joints on islington high street and you can't get a decent burrito many places in the city).

          2. Thinking about it, (and I have no idea on the cost), if I was coming to London to work in King's Cross I'd probably try to live in Clerkenwell/Farringdon. Lots of good places to eat in that area, Exmouth Market, Smithfields, and within walking distance of both work and lots of places in the West End. Not much in the way of markets, I suppose, but I think there's one weekly in the street where Snazz Sichuan is, and you can always hop on the Tube or bus to either Borough or Islington Farmer's Market on a Saturday.

            3 Replies
            1. re: greedygirl

              Good call. There's plenty of decent boozers in the area too.

              There's Chapel Market as well although I haven't been for a while. And you're not that far from Steve Hatt the fishmongers.

              Many of the Upper Street restaurants leave a lot to be desired though.


              1. re: greedygirl

                Clerkenwell/Farringdon certainly look ideally located. I'd much prefer to live a pretty small place and be able to walk or bike to work than live outside the city in a larger joint and have to commute.

                1. re: juniorworm

                  Although you won't be around during the day, there is a market on Whitecross Street and on Thurs/Fri, there are vendors from Borough Market such as Neal's Dairy Yard, the chorizo and rocket sandwich guys and the bakers selling brownies (sorry, don't remember their names now!) The area isn't great for ethnic stuff though.